March 13, 20113
Author: Lillian Holloway, UIC FM Resident
Today was informal but very productive. We decided we wanted to spend the day working on understanding the daily lives of the people of Guaymate. We started the day visiting one of the primary schools with children fro ages 5 to 14. We arrived at recess to a flurry of children yelling out “Hi!”, “Good Morning” and “Bye bye!” in English. We were greeted by one of our CAB members, who serves as a math teacher at the school and given a tour by the Principal. The school serves over 1,400 children, but with a shortage of teachers, the day is divided into two sessions. Some children come during the day and others during the evening. They teach adults on Saturdays.
After the school we went directly to a program funded by an NGO based in Colorado, called Compassion. It serves as an after/before school program for children with low resources. They have aprox. 400 children that they take care of either before or after their school session. They have only 9 instructors that stagger their times to serve all the children.
Finally we did various house visits of local families. At Zoraida and Nate’s house we were welcomed as part of the family. We later went into the cane fields. There was sugar cane as far as the eye can reach, all owed by Central Romana, the company that owns all of the cane fields on the east coast. We learned that there are machines that can cut and bundle the cane, but these machines are used only when deadlines are close. It is more cost effective to employ hundreds of workers to cut, bundle, and send the cane. Sugar cane….what a perfect plant that seems like it was created purely for the enjoyment and nutrition of humans, but what complexities there are surrounding it in this town!